OMGoodness… Back to school we go!!!!

So basically… this whole back-to-school thing kind of snuck up on me.

My husband and I planned to wait until the weekend before our eight-year-old started fourth grade to buy his new school uniforms because of how quickly he has been growing lately. At the beginning of summer, I resolved not to wait until the last minute to get his school things ready, but it made sense to wait to buy his clothes because he has been steadily growing up AND out. He had his little yearly physical last week and is now 76.4 pounds and 57 inches tall 🙂

(That picture is not him at the doctor’s office. Out of respect for the medical staff and the privacy of other patients in the common areas I do not take pictures of my kids in the doctor’s office. Not saying that it is never okay–I know medical professionals I work with who are perfectly okay with allowing Mom and Dad to snap a few pics, for example when they are bringing their newborn in for his or her first checkup, but it’s always best to ask before you snap).

JAYDEN AT KMART

Jayden has always been a sweet boy. He did not cry much as a baby, only when he needed to alert me that something was wrong–even when he first started sleeping in his own room, he did not cry when he first woke up. Instead, he would coo or make some other cute noise and I would be so happy to go in there and get him out of his crib. He was never a problem when we took him to public places–he was just happy to be out. He is so kind-hearted and easy-going. Anything can be an adventure, and he is truly happy for each and every day. Sometimes his incessant questions irritate me, I’ll admit, but I try to remember that his curiosity will take him far. (He’ll ask a question, I’ll answer, then he’ll ask a question about my answer, and so on).

Dad with newborn Jayden Dad playing with baby Mansters

It’s starting to dawn on me that Jayden is a lot like I imagine my Dad was as a little boy. Good-natured people like my Dad usually start out that way. Although Jayden is almost nine he still has the same personality he has always exhibited. He is super loving to his family, very encouraging and kind, and he loves the Lord. He has better Biblical knowledge than a lot of adults (which is actually kind of sad…).

SSS_0419 SSS_0603

He has lofty goals. When he grows up, he wants to be a doctor, own a restaurant, and design water parks LOL. He draws a lot–he’s made up menus for his restaurant, sketched out how his water park will be laid out, and draws cartoons. It has resulted in there being millions of random pieces of paper scattered throughout my house and my parents, but again–this is bound to lead to something.

Jayden with all his trophies Jayden with big brother shirts

Now he is going into fourth grade, and I am trying to help him deal with the loss of his best friend (Dad). In the meantime, I want to do better (yes, parents can and should admit when they can improve) to appreciate his curiosity and his talents. Sometimes I get irritated when I have to pick up papers from all over the place, but this weekend, I am going to see about just getting some extra storage crates or something and show him how to keep his drawings and stories better organized in his room.

I wasn’t alone in being unprepared for the school year. My husband also thought we had an additional week :-). Yet, our lack of preparedness didn’t keep the day from coming. This morning went pretty smoothly. I have resolved, among other things, to do better than I did last year in terms of getting more stuff together at night so I’ll have less to do in the morning. Sometimes, at the end of the day, I put off “small” things such as washing out Jayden’s lunch containers, signing his planner (as required by the school, that is one of their policies so that parents are paying attention to what their kids are learning), or even ironing clothes or packing lunch. “I’ll just get up a little earlier in the morning and do it,” I say as I sleepily drag myself into bed, where I’ll usually watch Golden Girls or a movie as I fall asleep (I cannot fall asleep in total silence. It’s the weirdest thing ever. I have to have some type of background noise).

I’ll set the clock for fifteen minutes earlier, and when it goes off, I hit the snooze button… two or three times. When I finally get up, it’s the time I would normally have gotten up, and now since I’ve put off doing something that I could have done instead of watching the Golden Girls, I am running late.

I am going to do my best to make sure that doesn’t happen this year.

I just need to manage my evening time better. I’ll be able to figure out a possible schedule when I get a good idea of what Jayden’s homework is going to be like. His homework takes a consistent amount of time from either myself or my husband, or sometimes both of us (it’s been years since we’ve been in elementary school, so yes, some of his homework stumps us. Don’t judge us). Especially when it comes to this new math they’ve forced upon us–Common Core. Common Chaos is more like it. I tell you, this math SUCKS. I’ve never seen math presented in such a discouraging manner. What is interesting is that unlike science, where there are new discoveries that may require new methods of teaching, numbers haven’t changed since–ever. So… I am confused as to how there needs to be new methods to teach the same material, when it seems the older methods worked better?

Prime example.

I’ve worked as a cashier before, so I have had plenty of situations where I entered a payment, then a customer found exact change or added a penny so they wouldn’t get back 99 cents, etc. I can’t tell you how many times I saw a younger person count out change incorrectly. I’ve rarely seen an older person do it. Admittedly, I switch numbers around in my head, so I do have a problem calculating figures mentally at times and have to do it on paper. But–on paper. I don’t need a calculator. I know from working on scoring standardized tests that kids are even allowed to use calculators during those tests. Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose?

WHAT??

Mind you, math was one of my WORST subjects, bar none. But if any math scholar happens to stumble upon my humble blog, can you explain to me the point of this problem? If it tells you to find the sum, why do you then need to estimate to see if the answer is reasonable? It’s correct, so doesn’t that make it reasonable? And I was always taught to round up… I would not have estimated 354 to be 300–I would have put 350… and 291 would have been 300. Would my estimated sum of 650 have been unreasonable, even though it’s closer in number than 500 to the actual sum?? Perhaps I should Google exactly what “front-end estimation” is. I guess I just don’t see the point of asking for the answer, then the estimation…

I’m waaaaaaay too simple-minded mathematically to make sense of this. If someone put the problem “26+17=?” in front of me right now I’m going to add 6+7 to get 13, carry the 1, then add 2+1+1 and get 43. As much as I stink at math, I can do that much in my head without paper (it’s when we get to decimals and fractions and stuff–then I need paper).

I have no idea what my original point was now, but… oh I remember. I don’t know what to expect of my son’s fourth grade homework, but know that it is going to take a significant chunk of time out of my evening, so I have to plan accordingly. Dinners are going to have to be prepared beforehand or something quick and easy, and I might have to–the horror–cut out a Golden Girls episode or two at night.

LOL!!!!!!!

Speaking of Numbers, I left off at chapter fifteen. I apologize for my hiatus. Recall that in chapter fourteen, God’s patience with Israel had soured, and now they were going to be spanked for their bad behavior–lack of faith, disobedience, and ALL that complaining (that was a result of their lack of faith, mind you). God has decided that anyone who had reached the age of twenty years or older, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, two of the twelve explorers who had gone to spy out the new land and came back with a promising report, as opposed to the others, will NOT enter the Promised Land. The Israelites would wander in the wilderness for forty years as that generation died out.

God begins this chapter by informing Moses of additional offerings the Israelites are to give upon their arrival to the Promised Land. Of particular interest to me is verse 15: “The community is to have the same rules for you and for the foreigner residing among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the foreigner shall be the same before the Lord” (italics added by me).

I suppose it is obvious why I love that passage. Look at what happened when the Jews rejected Jesus–the Gospel then came to the Gentiles. Although the Jews were God’s chosen nation, we now all have the opportunity to accept the same Gospel message that they rejected. Thank God for that.

God then moves on to offerings for unintentional sins. Notice again that the key word here is “unintentional”, meaning for those of us who know what God expects of us, our intentional sins ought to be minimal…nonexistent, even. Just as the Israelites, who had the direct Law of God as given them by Moses, we have this Bible that communicates to us what God will have us do and what we ought not do. If we know that God has said something wrong and we decide to do it anyway, that is a willful, intentional sin, committed directly against God. In this case, God is referring to unintentional sins committed by the entire Israelite community.  If the community is found to be guilty of unintentional sin, offerings are in order. I must admit, I am having difficulty determining what may be an unintentional sin committed by the entire community. Since I did not sleep last night and just took a sleep aid, I cannot think of a good example (my mind is going all over the place at night. I can definitely see how Satan can get a stronghold on people when they are grieving. He has definitely been working on me. Not gonna win though!).

I suppose an unintentional community sin can begin with a sin committed by an Israelite that went unchecked and then spread throughout the nation in a manner that it eventually became accepted, but even then I am having difficulty concocting a decent example. The reason I am having a hard time is because the Israelites, more than anybody, know exactly what they are supposed to do and what they aren’t supposed to do. (Someone throw me a line here!).

The individual who sins unintentionally must also present an offering.  But for the person who intentionally defies the word of God?

“But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or foreigner, blasphemes the Lord and must be cut off from the people of Israel. Because they have despised the Lord’s word and broken his commands, they must surely be cut off; their guilt remains on them” (vv. 30-31).

After this statement is made, a short story is relayed about a man who is found in the wilderness breaking the Sabbath day commandment by gathering wood. Interestingly enough, although the people should know very well what to do with the man, he is brought forth to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly. I wonder if this man was a native-born Israelite or a foreigner? The Bible does not specify. No matter what his nationality, the punishment was clear. The Lord commands that the man be stoned to death. That’s why the story is short–it had a swift beginning and ending. Man found violating a commandment, brought before the people, punishment declared by the Lord, stoned to death outside the camp… “cut off from the people of Israel”, so to speak.

Seriously, dude? How much time had passed after verses 30-31 until this guy decided to intentionally sin? Was he testing the Lord? Is it me or is it just too convenient (and I’m not saying that in a positive way) that RIGHT after God tells them that there is no acceptable offering for a willful sin than this guy decides to go a break a commandment???

After this is over it is back to business. God informs the people that they are to make tassels on their garments, with a blue cord on the tassel, for all of the following generations to come. The purpose of this tassel is to serve as a reminder of sorts, so the people can keep their focus on the words and commands of the Lord. I think of this in the same manner as people who wear crosses, or even hats or t-shirts that have Scriptures or a Biblical or Christian focus. Admittedly, when I wear clothing that readily identifies me as a Christian, I am even more aware of my surroundings and behavior than normal. I have several shirts that I like to wear–one of them looks like this:

Another looks like this:

Now, anyone who is a Christian shouldn’t have to wear t-shirts, hats, crosses, or anything to identify them as Christian–people ought to be able to tell from our attitude and the love we exude that we are Christian. However, I feel a certain type of way when I wear those shirts, and I can tell when people are looking at them. Sometimes I get questions. Other times people look uncomfortable. No matter what look I get, I know that I am being watched, and because I have identified myself with Christ people are going to put me under a microscope to see if my behavior is Christ-like.

I apologize, but the sleep aid is fully kicking in and I am getting woozy. I also resolve to make better use of my time during the day. I still have my three-year-old to take care of, and she was pretty upset that her big Bruh-Bruh was back in school and not with her.

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